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Our Farm
Are the geese kept indoors their entire life?
 
  • No, our goslings are kept indoors for the first 12 days as weather changes in South Dakota can be quite severe, and during these first 12 days it's difficult to get such young ones  back inside if a storm approaches quickly.
  • Around Day 12: if it is not raining they are given an area outside of approximately the same size as their inside space.
  • Around Day 25: the goslings are given a much larger outside area and the choice of being inside or outside on pretty much any given day.  There is feed and water both inside and outside for the goslings so they can be wherever they wish.  At this time we gently herd (yes, geese herd like sheep) all of them outside each morning (unless it's raining) to make sure they all get some fresh air and sunshine.  If the day gets too warm out, we open the doors back up so they can again have the choice of inside or outside.  We also like to begin giving them fresh cut alfalfa greens at this age.
  • Around 8 Weeks:  the goslings have become young geese.  At this point, they have all their feathers and can handle any summertime weather (without full feather cover they can get sunstroke, sunburn or become dehydrated).  At this point they are moved to large open ranges that allow them approx 120 sq ft per bird.  These pens are planted in greens each year for the geese and we also bring daily cut greens (typically alfalfa) for the geese to eat as well as a corn based feed.
Are your geese 'organic'?
 
  • We have chosen not to pursue organic grains at this time, as geese are extremely sensitive to molds (molds kill our goslings and makes adult males go sterile).  All inputs to the geese are inspected on arrival at our farm, our hay and straw is shedded inside large buildings to ensure it stays mold free.  If we find any mold in any of our feed, it is returned or goes to the compost pile.
  • To date, we have yet to find a suitable organic alternative for the goose food items we need in the quantities our flocks require.
  • Geese convert at a rate of 7:1, meaning it takes 7 lbs of feed for every 1 lb of meat.
Do your geese receive antibiotics?
  Our geese receive antibiotics only if a flock is threatened by an illness, and then only for the prescribed course of time determined by our veterinarian.  Antibiotics are never given 'just in case'.
Do your geese receive hormones?
  No, our geese are never given hormones.
How are your geese raised?
 
  • In January, the breeders that have been selected and kept for the next year are moved to their permanent residence in North Dakota, where they have pens in buildings with large outside lots.  Each goose has approximately 7 sq ft of inside space and approximately 120 sq ft of outside space.
  • They go in and out as they desire.  They have watering areas which are heated and go in and out on their own volition.  In essence, they are allowed to come and go inside and out as often as they wish day and night.
Meet Alice
  Alice, our Great Pyrenees, lives on our South Dakota farm. She started training for her Security Patrol career as a puppy on our North Dakota farm with our breeders. Being naturally nocturnal, she works hard to protect 'her' flock from predators at night, and rests during the day when 'her' people take over the job.

What are your geese fed?
 
  • Throughout their life on the farm, the geese receive feed that is prepared with the help of a professional nutritionist.  He ensures that all feed is appropriate for the geese during the different stages of their lives.
  • Dietary changes are made as the birds' nutritional needs evolve.  The diet consists mainly of corn and soybean meal mixed with vitamins and minerals, along with greens (seeded lots and fresh-cut) which they enjoy immensely.
  • Their water, feed, grit and hay are free choice (we do not, nor ever will, force-feed our geese).
  • Geese need and enjoy fiber (grasses, hay, etc) after their early gosling days (the gizzard must develop enough to grind the fibers) so we provide them with these roughage's by:  planting their lots in the fall/spring and turning them out as the plots and geese both mature; feed them the hay we harvest, as they truly enjoy good alfalfa; and we put fiber in their feed for a nicely balanced goose diet.
What does "free range" mean?
  Free range means our geese are cage-free.  They start their lives in straw bedded barns.  When they're old enough to walk back into the barn fast enough to not get caught in a fast approaching thunderstorm, they are given the choice of being outside or inside, weather permitting (hard rains, hail and snow are indoor days!) The outside lots offer them approximately 25 sq ft per bird, then when they are around 45 days old they get 60 or more sq ft per goose.  By 8 weeks old they have about 120 sq ft per goose.  Their water, feed, grit and hay are free choice (we do not, nor ever will, force-feed our geese).
What species/breed are your geese?
  The species is Anser/Anser Domesticus and the breed would be most comparable to the White Embden goose.  Our goose is our own breed of domestic goose, which was developed with renowned poultry geneticists Verne Logan and Dr. Arnie Nordskog, from Iowa State University, to develop superior strains and breeds of geese for the table.  with Dr. Nordskog's help and guidance, Schiltz established grandparent lines and registered a distinct breed of goose with the Dept. of Agriculture, Schiltz Line 306.  Our geese have the genetics from the German Embden, the Royal English, the French Toulouse (although we changed it to white feathers, which are dominant to gray), and the Royal Chinese goose.  These were the breeds we felt worldwide have the most commercial use.
When do the goslings arrive?
 
  • In March, the hens begin laying eggs in their buildings where the feed and water are provided.  When they begin nesting, we provide the materials for them and they build their own nests.  We do this because they enjoy building the nests and are very particular about where and how they want the nests arranged.  This is quite an activity to watch as they are very intricate in just how a nest should be built.
  • Once the eggs are laid, personnel will gather them in baskets lined with bubble pack to protect the shells and warm cloth to keep them from getting unduly chilled.  The eggs are then washed, disinfected and placed in a temperature and humidity controlled environment to await incubation.
  • The eggs are transported to our hatchery in South Dakota in a temperature-controlled van and are put into the incubators.  After 27 days in the incubators they are transferred to a hatcher (higher humidity and different trays) where they will hatch after 4 more days (31 days total).
  • All of the goslings (baby geese) are then loaded into a heated van and taken to their new home two miles away.
  • They are put in an insulated barn with feed, water and grit (grit is needed by the gizzard for grinding the feed to the goslings desired texture).  The barn is kept at a temperature where the goslings are comfortable and happy.
Where are you located?
  Our breeders live near Tolna, North Dakota.  Once the egg-laying season begins, the eggs are transported to our hatchery in Sisseton, South Dakota.  Once hatched, the goslings grow out in South Dakota at our farm near the hatchery.  Our offices are held in Sisseton, South Dakota as well.